Why does it say "le" and "bianche" (plural), but the word "lenzuola" itself seems to be singular?
It's one of those words that change gender from singular to plural. "il lenzuolo" (m, singular), "le lenzuola" (f, plural)
it is not that bad comparing to the hundreds of irregular verbs in English
And Hungarian. Not counting that the c whole language is irregular comparing to Indo-European languages ;)
English irregular verbs have regularities even though they are called "irregular" but this is nuts xD
I wonder if the Romans adopted that construction of plurals from the Greeks, as they did with many things about the Greeks that they admired and elevated as a high form of culture.
Are you sure? When I looked it up 'lenzuolo' appeared to mean a blank sheet of paper or similar, whereas the singular for bedsheet was still feminine- lenzuola. It seems to me that it does not change its gender, rather it remains the same in both the (feminine) singular form and the plural form. Which is really confusing! Please correct me if I am wrong though!
Il lenzuolo = bedsheet, singular, m. Le lenzuola = bedsheet, plural, f. http://www.wordreference.com/iten/lenzuolo http://www.wordreference.com/iten/lenzuola I can't think of any instance when lenzuolo refers to a blank sheet of paper. I am sure in the sense I am an italian native speaker.
Fair enough, the site I looked at was clearly wrong! Would definitely trust word reference as a site more than the one I was on.
why do you still need to say 'le lenzuola' if the direct article isn't needed? Would 'non abbiamo lenzuola bianche' also be correct?
"we do not have white linens" was marked incorrect. In the US bed linens are used interchangeably with bed sheets. - please help.
doesn't bed linen include pillowcases as well as sheets? - it does in English english
Yes, but the distinctive use of "linens" in the US can mean both the set or singular item. This is a common practice with a lot of phrases that employ generic words. It's an encompassing term, but the reason why it doesn't work here is because DL wants a specific translation.
Yes, DL generally wants a specific translation because it is trying to teach us a specific thing about the Italian language structure and grammar, so that we learn how to build sentences correctly in Italian. And what it sounds like in an English translation is almost besides the point.
There's a report button for this kind of thing. Select that your translation should have been accepted.
So the masculine singular form is 'il lenzuolo' why does the feminine plural change to an 'a' ending instead of an 'i'?
because it comes from a neuter word in latin. The plural ending for neuter words are always "a" in Latin. Italian made the singular ending "o" for masculine/neuter nouns.